Hearts still in the market for quality

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson
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Robbie Neilson hasn’t ruled out adding to his Hearts squad before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.

Neilson has already signed five players over the summer, bolstering his defence with Blazej Augustyn, Juwon Oshaniwa and Igor Rossi, while Gavin Reilly and Juanma were brought in to increase Hearts’ firepower in attack.

All have impressed as Hearts have surged to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership. While Neilson is content with the quality at his disposal, he remains open to strengthening further if the right player becomes available. “You never know,” he said. “There’s always people being put to us and if something comes up that I think is going to add value then we’ll do it. If it doesn’t then I’m quite happy with what I’ve got.”

The Tynecastle club have been credited with an interest in Bulgarian midfielder Milen Gamakov, with the Bulgarian press reporting that Hearts’ chief scout John Murray flew out to watch the Botev Plovdiv player this week.

Neilson confirmed Murray ran the rule over the under-21 internationalist, but said “John Murray was over in Bulgaria watching a player but wasn’t impressed.

“We looked at him and saw reports. I thought he was a good player, but John went over and didn’t agree.

“It would be a very important signing, a midfielder who needs to be better than what we’ve got and he wasn’t quite what we were looking for. I trust John’s judgement on him.”

The Jambos travel to New Douglas Park today with the intention of maintaining their 100 per cent league record with a win over Hamilton who have taken six points from their last two league fixtures.

Neilson expects a difficult game following Martin Canning’s own summer recruitment drive. “It’s always a difficult game down there,” said Neilson. “Although they had a difficult result against Raith Rovers in midweek, they are still a tough team to play against. They fight, compete and hunt everything down. It will be a hard game for us.

“They’ve brought in a new centre-half and a striker and brought the boy up from Norwich [Carlton Morris] that Alex [Neil] has sent them, who is a good player. That has given them strength and pace and I expect them to be very tough opponents for us tomorrow.”

Three points in Lanarkshire would leave Hearts in good shape as domestic football takes a back seat next week due to European Championship qualifiers. The Hearts boss believes the brief hiatus will benefit the league leaders.

“By the time the break is over we should have Miguel Pallardo and Blazej Augustyn back in, and I think there are a few of the boys that could do with a rest. It has been a tough month and it will be good to get a wee break. They will get a couple of days off after the game then a couple of days off next weekend, then it’s about gearing up for Inverness on the Friday night.

“It’s a huge motivation to go into the international break with a 100 per cent record. Tomorrow is no different. We want to go to Hamilton, play well and come away with three points. Before the season started, I didn’t have any ideas about what we would try to get on the board before the first break. It was just a case of winning the first game, then the second, and keep going from there.”